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Thomas Friedman Cites the Center for Climate and Security on Extreme Weather in the Middle East and South Asia

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Scorching temperatures are normal this time of year, but an unprecedented heat wave prompted Iraqi authorities to declare a mandatory four-day holiday beginning Thursday. The government has urged residents to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 30, 2015. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman published an Op-ed today, “The World’s Hot Spot,” about the extreme heat waves plaguing the Middle East and South Asia, including Iran (citing AccuWeather’s Anthony Sagliani who stated that a July 31 reading in the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshahr was ‘…one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen, and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world.’) The column explores political protests and sweeping changes in government, particularly in Iraq, which followed from the perceived inadequate response to the heat wave, and asks questions about whether or not enough attention is being paid to climatic events by the region’s political leaders.

Friedman cited the Center for Climate and Security’s Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, regarding how climate stresses are measured against other security risks, as well as how such extreme events can place significant strains on the social contract between governments and their respective publics. The full citation: (more…)

More on Climate Change and the Syrian Uprising

Shahrzad Mohtadi has written an interesting piece for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on the connections between climatic changes, bad policy and social unrest in Syria.

The article follows and expands on a piece we wrote in March for AlertNet and ClimateProgress, titled “Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest,” which was then cited by Thomas Friedman at the New York Times in his OpEd “The Other Arab Spring.” (more…)

Tom Friedman: Environmental, Population and Climate Factors in the Arab Awakening

Thomas Friedman at the New York Times penned a great piece for the Sunday paper titled “The Other Arab Spring.” In it, he sheds light on some of the oft-ignored “environmental, population, and climate stresses” that have contributed to unrest in the Arab world, along with the political and economic factors we have all heard about. When he turns to the issue of tensions over land, water and food, Friedman cites our recent article in Climate Progress and AlertNet (“Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest), highlighting the humanitarian crisis precipitated by one of the worst droughts in the country’s history, which NOAA has partly attributed to climate change. (more…)